(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.

20 May 2011

Cleon Peterson's "White Flag" at Joshua Liner Gallery: May 17th to June 11th, 2011

Personally, these paintings made me think of The Rape of the Sabine Women---rape and pillage. Impressive? Yes. However, I'm at a loss of words due to the over-usage of my brain these last few weeks. Take a gander at the press release and it will fill you in with the details.

[PRESS RELEASE]If the title of this new body of work suggests a surrender, it’s not the conventional sort. Known for his depictions of graphic violence and depravity, Peterson’s dystopian art rips the lid off of accepted social decorum to unleash aggression and other pent-up impulses. As figures torture, maim, cut, and abuse one another, a surrender to the worst in humanity is staged on the surfaces of the artist’s work—here, it can be safely, cathartically, and even aesthetically enacted.

Rendered in acrylic on paper mounted on board, these 15 medium- to large-size works take violence as their symbolic subject. Lifelike but not realistic, Peterson’s figures engage in a kind of kabuki-esque power ritual. In Into Darkness, for instance, seemingly helpless aristocrats are massacred by nondescript “shadow” figures in a theatrical setting of neoclassical architecture. Clad only in briefs, the menacing “shadow” assailants appear hairless and somewhat neuter. Starkly rendered in flat perspective and only two hues—red and black—the contrast between the figures at first seems apparent, but this impression gives way to ambiguities of motive, intent, and culpability.

Even more starkly contrasted, the battlefield of A Balance of Terror is presented in black and white, with black “shadow” figures on horseback and white victims played in pools of blood. Here, again, scenes of torture and murder are status quo, with some figures engaging intermittently in banal chitchat and postures of relaxation. The Practice of Masters takes this moral ambiguity to its natural conclusion: the shadow figures are presented to engage in self-attack, as “brothers” raise knives, broken bottles, and insults against each other.

Though White Flag depicts the most horrendous acts of violence, the compositions are balanced, harmonious, and otherwise pleasing to the eye, displaying a balletic “dance macabre” of torturer and victim. While conjuring up allusions to famous uprisings, such as the French Revolution, the Soweto Riots, or even current images from Libya, the artist, in fact, draws his inspiration from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung. Like Nietzsche, Peterson creates a world where contrasting moral schemes result in eruptive hostility. And like Jung, Peterson explores the tension between the conscious ego and repressed “shadow,” the unconscious area of the psyche where rejected and banished self-knowledge gains intensity and is personified.

White Flag starkly contrasts the unemotional ruthlessness of the “shadows” and the white-hot pain of their victims. The shadows hardly show signs of rage in their reductive facial features and indiscriminate malice, while their targets wear expressions of horror and anguish. Though the shadows clearly have the upper hand in these slaughter scenes, the settings’ topiaries and grand foyers suggest that the other side is not entirely powerless. In these ambiguous depictions of innocence and evil, Peterson asks viewers to consider for themselves where their sympathies lie.


Tat Ito's "Memento Mori" at Joshua Liner Gallery: May 17th to June 11, 2011

At first glance, Tat Ito's paintings are iridescent and lively, but it is not until you get up close and examine the exquisite details to find the subject matter filled with humor and art historical references. In one set, he has a shark in a tank, like Damien Hirst, immersed in a sea of humans dressed as sharks. The same applies to the large scale painting on the back wall of the gallery--an impressive tree that stretches across the canvas in the foreground, juxtaposed against a pink middle-ground. As you walk up closer you see this puddle shaped landscape; a background filled with magical fairies, only these magical fairies are caught in the act: jumping rope, passed out behind a tree, hanging dead from a tree branch, and lastly a fairy with her pants pulled down, spreading her lips and urinating on the tree. All lewd actions painted in the most magical way.

In a golden panel of flowers, which are painted to look more like weeds, there is a human dressed as dog and the viewer's eye follows this half human/ half dalmatian, in the style of animation, as he runs from the right side of this long panel to left. This hybrid figure stops along the way only to piss on a Campbell's soup can and pull his pants down to fuck a blue inflated animal balloon--essentially pissing on the art of Warhol and fucking the art of Koons.

[Press Release] Tat Ito was born and raised in Japan, but he later made his art studies in the United States. Consequently, the artist and his paintings are a dynamic confluence of East and West, traditional and contemporary. The poetic analogy of “oil on water” describes Ito’s approach to both imagery and cultural references; in his vibrantly colored work, traditional Japanese aesthetics are a foundation upon which floats a contemporary (i.e., Western-influenced) viewpoint. Like a skim of oil on water, the beautiful, reflective surfaces of his paintings fascinate viewers. These top layers never mix but, rather, are presented in dialogue with the substance beneath.

Perhaps even more important to Ito, the artist, is the traditional role of the artist’s hand in creating meaningful works of art. “My hand-executed paintings, imbued with intentionality and meaning, are a direct response to the trendy ‘Factory Art’ of certain Pop and post-Pop artists and an art market fueled by brand-name investing,” says Ito. “The bustling compositions become metaphorical representations of the contemporary art world and visual culture in general. Outrageously costumed figures inhabit a stylized landscape that is simultaneously reminiscent of Japan’s high-voltage electronic age and its gold-leafed medieval era. The paintings become an arena in which my frustrations, disappointment, and hopes regarding the art world take shape with subtle irreverence and humor.”


19 May 2011

Elle and The Fox

Brian Dettmer's "Altered Books" at KINZ + TILLOU FINE ART

May 19 - June 11

Preview Reception:
Thursday, May 19, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

526 West 26 Street, Suite 416, NYC

Gallery Hours: Wed.- Sat. 12 - 6, and by appointment


[Press Release}: Brian Dettmer carefully selects and sifts through stacks of old books to uncover the perfect source and subject for his cultural archaeological explorations and sculptural possibilities. He first determines the presentation, engineering and construction of his altered book or books. Then, with the precision of a surgeon, using scalpels and hundreds of x-acto blades, he recontextualizes the pre-existing information and images by selectively removing and manipulating elements to map new visual journeys and allow new interpretations and ideas to emerge.

Dettmer is originally from Chicago, where he studied at Columbia College. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, GA. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. He has had solo shows in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and Barcelona, and has exhibited in Mexico City, Berlin and London.

Dettmer's work has gained International acclaim through internet bloggers and traditional media. His bibliography includes The New York Times, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Art News, Modern Painters, Wired, The Village Voice, Harper's, Time Out, The San Francisco Chronicle, and National Public Radio among others.

Cleon Peterson 'White Flag' & Tat Ito 'Memento Mori' at Joshua Liner Gallery

17 May 2011

Milton Glaser "On the Fear of Failure"

Milton Glaser – on the fear of failure. from Berghs' Exhibition '11 on Vimeo.

Thanks LNY!

The Rare Earth's Fluorescent Ball at the Museum of Arts and Design

Last night I went to support Anne Grauso and her piece that was showcased in "The Rare Earth's Fluorescent Ball," a Gala fundraiser with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Museum's acclaimed exhibitions and children's educational programs, at the Museum of Arts and Design. Grauso's piece "Celtic Tree of Life" is a silkscreen print on Gideon bible paper with vinyl. Other pieces included "She Loves Bullets" by Leo Tecosky; these materials consist of a mannequin,paint, cane and neon. "Nanobot," an impressive work by Adela Andea made of plexiglass, light clay covered with microbead and cold cathode fluorescent lights (CCFL) and fishing line. "Guitar Player's Left Hand" by Mark O. Naylor, a fluid neon line of glass tubing adorned the wall in the same room as Jen Elek's "Human Head:" made of hand-blown glass bell jar with neon flashing happy/sad face. Suzette Guy and Jacob Abramson provided digital art projection in the VIP lounge--a lovely duo to watch and converse with. I got to wear a wig, therefore the night ruled.

Other artists include: Lite Brite Neon Studio, Tapp Francke, Julian Lwin, Jen Kao, Mark Christopher Kessel, Tom Fruin, Kenzo Minami, Ryder Robison, Rogan Gregory, Bliss Lau, Jeff Muhs, Jane D'Arensbourg, Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons, Anne Koch, Kava Gorna, Darin Smith, Surface to Air, and Peter Macapia.

LNY in Berlin